Manchester United made a firm decision not to cede to Real Madrid’s demands for Sergio Reguilon.

Reguilon is heading to Tottenham, The Guardian report, after the North London side agreed to a buy-back clause for Madrid.

United smartly refused this, which would effectively have made the agreement an extended and expensive loan.

It is very unlikely now that United pursue another left-back this summer, leaving Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams with a big task ahead.

Manchester United v Aston Villa: Pre-Season Friendly
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

A lifeline for Shaw

One aspect of the pursuit of Reguilon never quite made sense, and that is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s loyalty and admiration for Luke Shaw, who he selected to start every single one of United’s games during the unbeaten run in 2020 he was available for.

Reguilon’s arrival would have changed this, and likely pushed Shaw down the pecking order. Now the 25-year-old has to seize his chance.

There are two aspects to this for Shaw. The first he is in direct control of.

Shaw’s performances on the pitch need to be of high quality, and he needs to make a decisive impact in the final third.

Even in the recent friendly with Aston Villa, Shaw showed a real determination to get forward, and linked up well with Marcus Rashford. United need him to show that attacking intent.

 

Last season Shaw scored only one goal, in the FA Cup against Derby County, and his solitary assist came in the Europa League versus Astana.

Shaw has to do better here. Other top teams have full-backs who make more telling contributions. Even with the criticism directed from the outside towards Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s attacking, the right-back still managed four Premier League assists for United in 2019/20.

The second aspect and the most critical one, is whether Luke Shaw can stay fit.

He had two spells out with injury last season, playing in 24 out of 38 Premier League games, missing both the FA Cup and Europa League semi-finals with injuries.

Manchester United Training Session
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

It is not so simple for Shaw to avoid injuries, but he really needs a clean season in this regard.

If he cannot, then there is extra pressure on 20-year-old Brandon Williams as back-up.

Shaw needs to answer these two issues to keep his spot for next season. He got away with it this summer, and some would say he has earned that with his recent performances.

But in order to keep United out of the transfer market for a left-back in 2021, Shaw has to kick on this season.

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